The fourth edition of the Indian Premier League will begin from April 8 next year, six days after the conclusion of the 2011 Cricket World Cup, with the high profile players' auction to be held on January 8 and 9 Mumbai.
Like the first three editions, there will be eight teams participating in the Twenty20 event, with 60 matches to be played with the title clash to be held on May 22.
"The IPL GC met today to discuss matters related to next IPL. It was decided that the players auction will take place on January 8 and 9, 2011 in Mumbai. The IPL season will start on April 8 and end on May 22 but the opening ceremony will be held on April 7," BCCI secretary N Srinivasan said in a statement.
The dates were fixed at a meeting of the reconstituted five-member IPL Governing Council, headed by Chirayu Amin.
Even though the statement did not mention anything about troubled IPL franchisees -- Kochi and Rajasthan Royals-- it said that only eight teams will participate in the Twenty20 league next year.
"There will be a total of 60 matches, played by eight teams. The hosting venue arrangements were finalised and approved at the meeting," Srinivasan said in the release.
The committee also announced a new format to decide the finalists of the IPL on the basis of play-offs.
The play-offs will be played based on league standings with the Team 1 meeting Team 2 and Team 3 meeting Team 4 in the semi-finals.
The winner of play-off 1 will automatically qualify for the grand finale.
However, the losers of play-off 1 will get a second chance as they will take on the victorious team of play-off 2 in a preliminary final, winner of which will progress to the grand finale.
BCCI Vice-President and IPL Governing member Rajiv Shukla said the issue of Kochi IPL franchisee was not discussed during the meeting at all.
"Basically, today's meeting was about preparations for IPL 4. Because now the preparations for IPL-4 has started in full strength. We have to make IPL-4 a full success," Shukla told reporters after the meeting.
"The issue of the Kochi was not discussed at all during today's meeting. Because they have been given a notice of one month which expires on November 27. The issue was not in the agenda at all. A decision on the issue will be taken only after that," he said.
Kochi were given a 30-day notice by the BCCI last month to sort out their internal differences.
Speculation is, however, rife that the group of investors in the franchisee is not interested in running the franchisee and will soon ask permission of the Cricket Board to withdraw from it.
On retention of players in the IPL teams, Shukla said that it would stay the same as decided by the technical committee of Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri and Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi earlier this year.
"The same players' rules as decided by the technical committee will be implemented," he said.
A maximum of four players from each team, including a maximum of three Indian players, have been allowed to be retained by the franchisees, with $ 1.8 million to be deducted from their kitty for the first players and so on.
As per an earlier decision taken by the BCCI, the retention of players would result in reduced amount available with each franchise with amounts of $ 1.8 million per annum for the first player so retained, $ 1.3m, 0.9m and 0.5m for the other three players reduced from its kitty.
This is irrespective of the actual player fee paid to each of these players. If a franchise retains four players, its salary cap will be charged by $ 4.5 million in each of 2011 and 2012 seasons and it will have only $ 4.5m remaining to pay as player fees for the remainder of its registered squad.
The IPL has added a rider to player retention saying the franchisee and the player must mutually agree to it as well as the player fee to be paid for 2011 and 2012 seasons.
The two new franchisees -- Kochi and Sahara Pune -- who did not participate in the 2010 season were allowed to sign upto four players from the list of players who were not a part of the squad of any of the teams in the past three IPL editions.